Ban these words from delivery rooms, say Queensland midwives

Kinderling News & Features

Depending on what stage of labour you’re at, the right words can soothe away some pain or give you that last bit of encouragement to get you closer to your baby.

So hooray for a bunch of Queensland midwives who are calling for an overhaul of the language used by medical professionals in the birthing suite*.

As Liz Wilkes, managing director for My Midwives told The Courier Mail, the language used during birth can be patronising and condescending when it should empower and uplift.

After all, birth is one of the most important experiences of a woman’s life and we need all the support we can get.

“Terminology like “good girl” and “my woman” can be extremely condescending to women … [And] the words ‘delivered’ and ‘confinement’ are outdated … even the Medicare schedule has been updated to reflect this,” Liz said.

 “Good girl” is considered one of the worst offenders, with midwives asking it be replaced with “you’re doing really well”.

 Clinical phrases like “failure to progress” are also on the hit list.

 Contractions should be “strong” rather than “painful” and a “big baby” should instead be referred to as “a healthy baby”.

 Here’s the rest:


·         Delivered

·         Labour ward

·         You must have a caesarean

·         Poor maternal effort

·         Terminate pregnancy

·         High risk 


·         Gave birth

·         Birthing suite

·         I recommend a C-section

·         Not finding it easy

·         Compassionate induction

·         Medically complex

*See? We're already on board!

 What word really got your goat giving birth?